Bordering the Imaginary: Art From the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Their Diasporas

Throughout history, the Dominican Republic and Haiti have at times been allies and foes due to demographic and cultural differences.  The two Caribbean countries that share the small island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region, bears a brutally racialized history but has managed to persist as a space of cultural fluidity and collaboration. The 1800s saw moments of unity on Hispaniola, and the embrace of blackness in the Dominican Republic, prior to Trujillo’s tyrannically “whitening” rule.

Raúl Recio  Los dibujos de la Chapeadora (Drawings of the Gold-digger), 2015
Raúl Recio Los dibujos de la Chapeadora (Drawings of the Gold-digger), 2015

Bordering the Imaginary: Art from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Their Diasporasis an exhibition of contemporary artworks organized into four parts, using an array of media that interrelates the history of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.  Curated by Abigail Lapin Dardashti, a Franco-Dominican American Ph.D. candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center and specialist in postwar Latin American art, the exhibition, sponsored by Goya, brings together Dominican and Haitian artists based in both the island and in the U.S.

Alex Morel Haitians Crossing the Ouanaminthe/Dajabón Border on Their Way to the Binational Market on the Dominican Side, 2015
Alex Morel Haitians Crossing the Ouanaminthe/Dajabón Border on Their Way to the Binational Market on the Dominican Side, 2015

Through the exhibition, accompanying catalogue, and public programs, Bordering the Imaginary investigates definitions of nationhood as it relates to these two countries, their tradition of cultural and social exchange, and the racism and social injustices that have long impacted the people of both nations, creating a vivid visual narrative and opportunities for discourse that reconsider differences and commonalities between the distinct but intertwined communities of these two Caribbean countries that share a single island.

 

“We’re very excited to present a rich cross-cultural dialogue that underscores the possibility of exchange, interaction, and open borders,” said Elizabeth Ferrer, BRIC’s Vice President of Contemporary Art. “Focusing on the vital artistic contributions of artists of Haitian and Dominican descent, this exhibition amply reflects BRIC’s mission to reflect the creativity and diversity of Brooklyn as well as to make cultural programming genuinely accessible and relevant to a broad public.”


Bordering the Imaginary features artwork by Edouard Duval-Carrié, Vladimir Cybil Charlier, Patrick Eugène, iliana emilia garcia, Scherezade Garcia, Leah Gordon with André Eugène & Evel Romain from atis rezistans, Fabiola Jean-Louis, Tessa Mars, Pascal Meccariello, Groana Meléndez, Alex Morel, Raquel Paiewonsky, Raúl Recio, Freddy Rodríguez, Julia Santos Solomon, Nyugen E. Smith, and Roberto Stephenson.

The first, of the four-part exhibit, Revolutions and Unifications: The Contemporary Resonance of 19th Century History, explores how both Dominican and Haitian contemporary artists repurpose images and ideas from the 19th century in order to recover the history of cultural and socio-political exchange during this period, up until the murderous anti-Haitian Dictator Rafael Trujillo.

In the works here, artists like Freddy Rodríguez and Vladimir Cybil Charlier take up subjects such as the Maroons—Africans who escaped slavery and lived in hiding in the island’s mountainous regions, who managed to organize and insurrect. Other artists explore the 1791 slave revolt that evolved into the Haitian Revolution. The latter is illustrated in work by Tessa Mars, whose self-portraits see her envisioning herself as various Haitian revolutionary leaders.

Tessa Mars Dress Rehearsal, 2017-18
Tessa Mars Dress Rehearsal, 2017-18

The second part of the exhibit, Borders, Fragmentations, and Intertwinings, explores the border itself, a political demarcation that has been both the site of violence and porous exchange between Dominicans and Haitians. Dominican artist Pascal Meccariello’s installation Mapping on Broken History, for instance, uses fragmented maps and pages from Dominican and Haitian history textbooks; he covers his fluid rendering of the island with images of Trujillo, at once demonstrating the remnants of colonialism and the endurance of fluidity despite it.

Edouard Duval-Carrié  Hispañola Saga: El tigere y el congo (Hispaniola Saga: The Tiger and the Congo), 2015
Edouard Duval-Carrié Hispañola Saga: El tigere y el congo (Hispaniola Saga: The Tiger and the Congo), 2015

Edourd Duval-Carrié’s acrylic work, El tigere y el congo, pictured above, depicts, on either side of the river that runs along the border, concepts of masculinity and power in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Another work, the film Ti tonton bat tanbou (Little Uncle Plays the Drums), made by Haitian artists André Eugène and Evel Romain and British artist Leah Gordon, is an artistic gesture towards the transcendence of the borderline, and a transnational Hispaniolan sensibility, documenting wooden figurines made in the artists’ studio crossing the border and being sold to tourists in the Dominican Republic. The works in this section depict how the identities of residents in Hispaniola and the diaspora intertwine and crystallize, forming new characteristics that go beyond those assigned by the nation-states.

Bodies Transformed, the third section, features works that reject traditional portraiture while representing identity through commonplace objects specific to Hispaniola in order to challenge race-based definitions of identity. Responding to this idea, Dominican-American artist iliana emilia garcía contributes a major, site-specific installation, The Sage and the Dreamer, composed of handmade wood and straw chairs sold throughout the countryside in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Wrapped around a pillar in BRIC’s gallery and approximately 20 feet tall, the chairs resemble a tree and act as a symbol of individuality, domesticity and communal exchange between Haitians and Dominicans. Also drawing on objects’ ability to elicit the complexities of a place, in his Made in Haiti series, the photograph below depicts how photographer Roberto Stephenson collects handmade objects from the streets of Port-au-Prince and sheds new light on their intricate detail and the creative ingenuity of people who make do with so little.

Roberto Stephenson biznis konprime, Ri Kristòf, Pòtoprens, (Pills Business, Christophe Street, Port-au-Prince), 2015
Roberto Stephenson biznis konprime, Ri Kristòf, Pòtoprens, (Pills Business, Christophe Street, Port-au-Prince), 2015

The final section of the exhibition, Memories of a Utopian Island and the Future, is a collaboration between Haitian-American artist Vladimir Cybil Charlier and Dominican-American artist Scherezade Garcia to be presented in BRIC’s Project Room. It features animated videos and installation that addresses various contemporary issues related to the diaspora. One such video is Conversation Thread, which sees the artists speaking French, English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole as their silhouettes intertwine. Lapin Dardashti writes, “Memories of a Utopian Island does not claim a sameness between the two countries. Indeed, numerous works in Bordering the Imaginary express distinct aspects of each nation … The countries maintain different cultures and modes of self-definition, but also share many cultural, economic, and historical notions that complicate the kinds of identities constructed by political powers.” Bordering the Imaginary aims to challenge these historically embedded categories, wrought as they often are by racist ideologies, through creativity and collaboration.

In conjunction with Goya’s lead sponsorship of the exhibition and as part of the company’s Goya Gives initiative, BRIC will facilitate an artist residency at the Orfanato Niños de Cristo orphanage in La Romana, located on the Dominican / Haitian border, and founded by Henry Cardenas and Marc Anthony of the Maestro Cares Foundation.

“We are honored to be the lead sponsor of the new BRIC exhibition and value organizations like BRIC who share the same mission in bringing communities together,” said Rafael Toro, Director of Public Relations of Goya Foods.  

Exhibiting artist iliana emilia garcía will travel to the Dominican Republic to spend time with the children and deliver hands-on art workshops over a number of days, with the sessions culminating in a group project for public installation. BRIC’s community investment begins in Brooklyn through our Arts for All approach but extends far beyond.

Free Public Programs

Coffee & Conversation: Bordering the Imaginary
Saturday, March 17, 12:00-1:00pm
The event features a gallery talk with curator Abigail Lapin Dardashti and exhibition artists Vladimir Cybil Charlier, Scherezade Garcia, Fabiola Jean-Louis, and Freddy Rodríguez, who will provide an in-depth discussion of the context surrounding the exhibition; free coffee included.

Facing Contemporary Hispaniola: Panel Discussion
Wednesday, April 4 at 7:00pm
Curator Abigail Lapin Dardashti moderates a panel discussion with exhibition artists Patrick Eugène, iliana emilia garcia, Alex Morel, and Nyugen E. Smith, who will discuss their work and offer perspectives on the relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Free Tours for Groups & Individuals
Wednesdays, 10:30am & 11:30am
Visit BRICartsmedia.org/exhibitiontours for more information.

Haiti-NYC-DR: Reflections from the Diaspora
Saturday, April 28 at 4:00pm; Part of BRIC OPEN: Borders (April 26-29, 2018)
Four leading voices of from the Haitian and Dominican diaspora—including Suhaly Batista-Carolina, Edward Paulino, Albert Saint-Jean,and Ibi Zoboi—discuss their personal experiences of the relationship between the countries, the legacy of their intertwined histories, and the unique character of the Haitian and Dominican life in NYC, through a public program and essays. Essays available at bricartsmedia.org/Haiti-NYC-DR.
This program is presented in partnership with the Haiti Cultural Exchange.

Conference: Art and Literature in Contemporary Dominican Republic, Haiti, and their Diasporas
Thursday, March 15, 1:00-8:00pm at The Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue, Room C198, New York, NY

This conference, organized by Abigail Lapin Dardashti, explores the production of literature and visual art by contemporary artists and writers in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and their Diasporas. More info at https://www.centerforthehumanities.org/programming

Bordering the Imaginary: Art From the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Their Diasporas

Abigail Lapin Dardashti, Guest Curator
On view: March 15 – April 29, 2018 at BRIC House
Located at 647 Fulton Street (at Rockwell Place)
Opening Reception: March 14, 2018, 7-9pm
Sponsored by Goya
FREE

National Geographic Expeditions Wants You To See The World

 

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If you have 24 days to spare, National Geographic Expeditions wants you and the one you love to see the world like never before.   Although you don’t have to go to the end of the earth, you will go around the world while staying in some of the world’s most luxurious accommodations while traveling on a private jet.

The specially outfitted Boeing 757 is designed for the ultimate luxury and comfort for long range capabilities. The VIP-configured Boeing 757 private jet offers 75 passenger seats in a special 2×2 configuration, instead of the standard 233 seats. Travelers will get a chance to ignite their passions and wanderlust spirit on alongside a team of National Geographic experts on a 24-day expedition exploring 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Imagine the treasures that await you around the world, from an exotic mix of cultures, languages, and food.

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Samoa, well known for its hospitality, traditional ceremonies, and distinct communal custom, unveils a traditional Polynesian feast.  Visit the royal city of Angkor Thom and then cruise to nearby floating villages on Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia. Stay overnight in Nepal and explore the medieval city of Bhaktapur.

But the magic doesn’t stop there, an open-air museum of ancient stone villages awaits you in Easter Island, Chile. Explore one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites in Peru and enjoy snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  Experience the lost city in Petra, Jordon, and explore the open-air market in Marrakech, Morocco. Go deep into the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, and get lost in the colorful Tibetan markets, and revel in the world’s greatest monument to love, the Taj Mahal in India.

This is just a snippet of the 24-day Around the World by Private Jet package by National Geographic Expeditions.  The Around the World package offers its guests a truly sublime experience.  Designed to suit those with the most discerning taste, National Geographic Expeditions will have you falling with the world as your backdrop.

 

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World’s Most Expensive Dress Now On Display At “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!’ In Orlando, Florida

RIPLEY'S (mMONROE)

‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not!’ set a new Guinness World Record for the most expensive dress sold at auction when they acquired the dress from Julien’s Auctions for a staggering $4.8 million. Add in auction fees, and the dress cost over $5 million, making it the most expensive dress in the world.

With the dress, other items from Kennedy’s birthday gala will be on display, along with other Marilyn memorabilia. You can see the iconic dress Marilyn Monroe wore when she famously sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy on May 19, 1962, for his 45th birthday gala at Madison Square Garden. The dress will be on display for a limited engagement at ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not!’ on International Drive in Orlando, Florida, starting on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, and leaving after the new year.

Ripley’s will also be hosting a Marilyn Monroe Look-Alike Contest on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, starting at 6 p.m.  The contest is open to anyone who would like to participate and there is no cost to register, and the contest is also free to view for the public.

Grand Prize is a cash prize of $500, lifetime passes to Ripley Entertainment Attractions, Ripley’s merchandise, and a two-night stay on Clearwater Beach. There are also prizes for first and second runners-up.  To register for the contest, please visit: http://www.Ripleys.com/orlando/marilyn-monroe-dress.

Ripley’s will be showing free outdoor Marilyn Monroe movies on select Saturdays in December.

MOVIE SCHEDULE:

*Movies will be shown outdoors, and are weather permitting.

Dec. 2 @ 7 p.m. – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Dec. 9 @ 8 p.m. – Some Like It Hot
Dec. 16 @ 7 p.m. – Seven-Year Itch

On Dec. 2, meet an award-winning Marilyn Monroe Impersonator! She will available for a meet-and-greet and posing for photo ops between 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  For more details, please visit http://www.Ripleys.com/Orlando and Facebook.com/RipleysOrlando for the most up-to-date information.

Empire State Building Rings In The Holiday Season With Annual ‘ESB Unwrapped’ Celebration

 

Featuring stunning holiday decorations in the building’s Fifth Avenue windows and Art Deco lobby,  the Empire State Building (ESB) today announced the details of “ESB Unwrapped,” its annual gift to New Yorkers, tourists, and fans across the globe this holiday season.

You never know who you may run into during a visit to ESB. Throughout the months of November and December, the building will welcome notable celebrity guests to its world-famous 86th floor Observatory to enjoy the 360-degree views and say hello to fans.

ESB will continue the holiday festivities with tower lightings in celebration of ThanksgivingChanukah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. ESB will also partner with iHeartMedia for its annual holiday light and music show, synchronized to Gwen Stefani’s holiday hit “You Make It Feel Like Christmas” broadcast on iHeartMedia New York’s radio stations beginning December 19 through Christmas Eve.  For the full lighting schedule, please visit http://www.esbnyc.com/explore/tower-lights/calendar.

From November 27 to December 29, Monday through Friday, a pianist will perform in ESB’s iconic Fifth Avenue lobby. Guests are invited to listen to holiday classics and a collection of seasonal favorites during the hours of 8-11 a.m.12-3 p.m., and 4-7 p.m.  

New York City comes alive during this time of the year, and the Empire State Building is a magical and integral part of that transformation from the tip of our tower lights to our holiday Fifth Avenue lobby windows,” said Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust. “Observatory visitors look forward to our annual festivities, and we can’t wait to share the holiday cheer this season.”

Visit Orlando Offers Black Friday Savings on more than 50 Orlando Experiences

Deal seekers get ready,  In honor of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Visit Orlando, the official tourism association for the destination, will offer an extra 10 percent off all purchases of already-discounted attraction tickets, some even including free additional days at theme parks, during the biggest shopping weekend of the year.

Travel seekers can simply use promo code “GIFT” on VisitOrlando.com purchases from Nov. 22–28 to save an extra 10 percent on some of Orlando’s most popular attractions, including the world famous theme parks.

Hotels and resorts across Orlando are offering their own Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for travelers, including:

  • The Grove Resort & Spa: Save 50 percent off best available rates for one, two and three bedroom residential-style suites at this new resort near Walt Disney World, when booking Nov. 24-27 for stays through September 30, 2018.
  • B Resort & Spa: Use the code “CYBER” when booking online to enjoy up to 25 percent off guest rooms, a 50 percent reduced resort fee and a free room upgrade from Chic to Captivating. This offer can be booked from Nov. 24–27, for travel dates Nov. 27, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2018.
  • Coco Key Hotel and Water Resort Orlando: Use the code “CYBER” when booking online to enjoy up to 30 percent off guest rooms, a 50 percent reduced resort fee, a free upgrade to pool or waterpark view, 10 percent off food and beverages and a free-tokens $5 gift card. This offer can be booked from Nov. 24–27. Travel dates begin Nov. 27 and extend through Dec. 31, 2018.
  • The Villas of Grand Cypress: Book online from Nov. 24-27 to save 15 percent on a two-night stay through December 20, 2018. Save an additional 5 percent per added night, up to 5 nights, for a maximum savings of 30 percent.
  • Orlando World Center Marriott: An exclusive Cyber Monday sale provides 15 percent savings when booking Nov. 23–27 for stays from Dec. 7 to Jan. 15, 2018.
  • Rosen CentreRosen Plaza and Rosen Shingle Creek: Book a getaway at any of these Rosen properties Nov. 24–27 for stays between Dec. 1-27, to receive 30 percent off the best available rate, plus 30 percent off select on-site restaurants.

Orlando is home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, and is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World®, and most visited destination in the United States.

Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States, with representation in more than a dozen countries around the world.

 

Andra Day and Academy Award Winner Common to Perform “Stand Up for Something” on the Girl Scout Float in 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Girl Scouts New Phototastic Collage

Depicting the power of girl leadership, the Girl Scout float design showcases a century of Girl Scout traditions and highlights today’s girls as capable of making great changes to benefit society.   This year an audience of more than 50 million will see the Girl Scout float “Building a Better World”  return to the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® on Thursday, November 23, 2017 in New York City.

Two dozen giant Girl Scout badges representing everything from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and the outdoors to financial literacy and entrepreneurship, as well as the Gold Award, Girl Scouts’ highest award. will be on display.

Performing on the Girl Scout float this year will be Grammy Award–nominated singer-songwriter Andra Day, who will sing her moving anthem, “Stand Up for Something,” from the film Marshall. Day will be accompanied by Grammy and Academy Award–winning artist and actor Common, who co-wrote and is featured in the song—for which Day and Common recently won the Hollywood Song Award at the 2017 Hollywood Film Awards.

The 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs nationwide on NBC, Thursday, November 23, from 9:00 a.m. to noon across time zones.  To advance the G.I.R.L. Agenda and for tips on leading positive change through civic action, visit www.GIRLagenda.org.

Puerto Rico Invites Travelers to be Part of the Island’s Comeback This Holiday Season

 

With the holiday season around the corner, meaningful travel provides a unique opportunity for those interested in giving back while traveling.

“Our travel advisor members have been receiving many inquiries from travelers loyal to Puerto Rico who want to visit and join in on its rebuilding efforts. Puerto Rico is a one of a kind destination, with many loyal visitors who want to be part of its comeback,” said Zane Kerby, President & CEO of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). Visiting the Island at this time provides the chance to rebuild, while still experiencing the charm Puerto Rico has to offer.

Responding to the high demand from loyal travelers wanting to help, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) today announced the first phase of its meaningful travel campaign with the launch of a series of “Rebuild Days” at multiple attractions – from parks to historic sites – through the end of the year.

Kicking off the series will be a cleanup at Camuy Cave Park, the third largest underground cave system in the world, located in the north region of the Island, on November 16-18, beginning at 7:00AM EST; supplies and tools will be provided for all participants. The Camuy Cave features ceilings over 10 stories high and boasts natural works of art from the spectacular stalagmites and stalactites found within.

From November 27-28 beginning at 7:00AM EST, the PRTC will also host volunteers at Crash Boat Beach, one of the hidden beaches of Aguadilla along the northwest coast of the Island. The location is known by surfers and snorkelers as a dazzling site with great waves, clear waters and an abundance of sea life.

The government of Puerto Rico, led by Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, is now focused on reactivating the local economy. Given the Island is top of mind for travelers and San Juan is ready to receive visitors, tourism is at the forefront of the economic development agenda. With the majority of San Juan’s hotels operating and welcoming new visitors, the city has become a respite for locals and responders on the Island, and is the ideal place to visit for those interested in adding purpose to their travel.  Encouraging locals, Puerto Ricans abroad, and others looking for meaningful travel opportunities this holiday season, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) is excited to welcome fans of the Island to help contribute to its recovery and partake in its rebuilding efforts.

For more information on meaningful travel to the Island, including details on open attractions, hotels, and the city’s most popular restaurants and more, visit SeePuertoRico.com.  Additional details on “Rebuild Days” will be updated throughout the end of the year. And, for information on other Island updates (related to hospitals, ATMs, supermarkets, etc.) across the Island, visit http://status.pr/.

Visitors with questions about travel to San Juan can call the Puerto Rico Tourism Company hotline at 787-522-5960, or talk to us via Live Chat online.